I am 45yo & have been a 100% SAHM for 8.5 years, was right decision at the time and I'm now looking for a job (probably will have to be FT).
Big problem of last 6 months is I cannot multitask any more, I find the kids so constantly demanding & distracting that I kind of give up and just browse websites all day or otherwise don't get much done, other than very frequently responding to their very frequent demands. I feel a little like I'm losing the will to live! I can get stuff done when they're all at school, it's just they rarely want to go out (my home is obviously much too nice to be in). So on non-school days NOTHING seems to happen or get done. I hate it (I would go out everyday all day if not tied to them, I have never been a homebody). And I cannot concentrate on doing anything much when they are here, unless I am happy to have them parked in front of videos & video games all day (okay sometimes, but not every day).
I don't think I am going to cure my 4 kids (age 4-13) of constantly demanding things of me any time soon.
Any coping strategies, or just sympathy?
Yes, sympathy. I'm no longer a SAHM but I still have that feeling. It feels like it's changed my attention span. To get things back, I started getting up early to have quiet time to myself. It's made a huge difference.
I am pregnant with my first so I can't really relate, but the only idea I can think of is this (for what it's worth): Have you thought of teaching them something that will help them gain independence? Like if I were a kid, and my mom taught me one day how to do something like make chicken parmesan, some kind of adult task, I would think that was ultra-cool. Looking back, I wish my mom would have taught me how to properly get rid of soap scum, how to cook, just practical things. I grew up never knowing or learning, just playing. Teach them something with YOUR personal spin on it. Make it fun. I feel like I was spoiled as a kid, and I don't think I was any better for it. I wish my parents would have treated me like more of an adult. I think kids get excited about learning something like that, if you take the TIME to really TEACH them why something works. Like why broccoli is so good for you yet cheap!, and how to make it actually taste good, not bad. If you find something you are excited and passionate about, they will see the enthusiasm and be excited too, I think. Or how to scramble eggs properly. Look it up online if you don't know yourself. It is empowering for them to learn stuff like that.
But then you could apply that to something outside the house too. Like you could take them somewhere to show them something YOU used to do as a kid, that they don't know how to do. It was always neat when my mom showed me a peak of who she used to be before having me. Teach them any kind of hobby you have or used to have. Maybe that is easier said than done. Sometimes Mom isn't the coolest person to a kid, I can understand that. I was always a great ice skater, so that is something I'd take my kids to do, just so I could show off!